There are many ways you can approach the application of Augmented Reality in you classroom. I have found the simplest to be Aurasma. Aurasma is an app for iPhone or iPad that can allow for augmented experiences to be embedded simply in your day-to-day teaching.
How can you use it in your classroom?
Peer Teaching and Self-Directed Instruction - One way I immediately implemented this tool was in my VET classroom. In this class students are required to use high-tech gear (audio, lighting and vision equipment) on a regular basis. My Year 12 students who were comfortable with the equipment created instructional videos for each element. We then layered these videos over an image of each device. My Year 11’s then utilised their iPads to bring up the instructional videos which assisted them in recalling the various elements of the equipment. This freed up my time to work with other students on different elements of production. My Year 12 students had the benefit of teaching their knowledge allowing them to reinforce the concepts for their own studies. My Year 11’s had the benefit of accessing this information whenever they required it, not just when I had five minutes spare to show them.
This type of routine could be used in a number of classes for specific equipment or tools. Think Science, Art, DT, PE or Maths. It could also be used to reinforce concepts. Eg. In Maths, you could have a number of posters with formulas. These formulas could be posted around the room with embedded video examples of these formulas in action (maybe created by the more G&T students). When students forget how to apply them or where they can be of use, they can visit the posters and watch a live example. This encourages students to be more self-directed in their learning and saves the teacher valuable time explaining it again. Alternatively, in the Music classroom students could embed performances onto posters centred around a specific musical concept such as time signature or a particular musical instrument, to teach other students via sound, rather then through descriptions of sound. In Food Technology students could video a cooking demonstration and embed it on a recipe for other students to access when they attempt to create the recipe. This are just a few examples, but the possibilities are endless!
To Aid Deeper Thinking - Recently I moved to a new school. The girls in my senior class were intelligent, hard working kids that knew perfectly well how to play the game otherwise known as ‘mainstream education’. Within a term I was well aware of this and decided that for our second unit of work I was going to challenge them to become deeper thinkers. We were studying the History of Western Theatre which at times can be dry, but we completely shook it up. You can find the whole unit here, but to cut a long story short the students had to produce an interactive timeline of Western Theatre History for our classroom. Students created infographics which were printed for display as a large timeline. Using Aurasma we overlaid performances that displayed the theatrical traditions and performance styles in action. The students had to perform, direct and film their practical examples. At one stage during the project one of my girls said, ‘Miss, why can’t we just do a research report? This is difficult.” I had changed the game and she was unsure how to play. My response was this, “I want you to dissect information, apply information, create, collaborate and most importantly develop a deeper understanding of the impact theatre has on it’s world and it’s people. Completing a research report is only going to show me that you know how to use google and structure an essay.” She understood. By using Aurasma in this project I could physically fuse our theory with our practical work making it come to life for the students. These students still continually refer to this timeline drawing techniques and conventions from our prior learning to apply to our current performance work. Younger students also use it to gain an understanding of each of these theatrical styles.
This type of project encourages deeper thinking. In Science students could complete a research paper and embed film of their experiments over the top of the report showing not only the final product, but the process that led them to their conclusion. In Art students could overlay a time-lapse of the art work being produced which would provide the viewer with another perspective on the art work in front of them. I said it before and I will say it again, the possibilities are endless. It is an awesome and innovative way to connect the thinking process with the product.
To Give Students A Voice - Students could film themselves giving an opinion on a topic and overlay this recording on a given image which could be accessed by other students to enhance their learning. Imagine if all the books in your classroom had embedded book reviews by other students stimulated by the image on the front cover. I haven’t tried this yet, but it is on my list of things to do! Alternatively, students could voice their opinions on climate change or another current issue in a panel discussion, film this discussion and embed it on an image which other students could readily access throughout the school stimulating further meaningful conversations.
I am sure there are many more ways Augmented Reality could be applied in your classroom. I know I am just touching the surface and I am excited about the future possibilities of this technology. I challenge you to experiment with this new dimension. When the posters in your classroom come to life for the first time your students may momentarily think they have transported to Hogwarts. Believe me, they will be suitably impressed and even a little bit dazzled by the magic you can weave with this technology.